Event to hon­our his­toric black city neigh­bour­hood

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

The Rollo Bay Fid­dle Fes­ti­val is hop­ing to get off on the right foot Fri­day with a brand new event.

The Friendly Fid­dler’s 5K Fun Run takes place at 5 p.m. in Rollo Bay.

“In a con­tin­ued ef­fort to en­sure the RBFF is a fam­ily-ori­ented com­mu­nity event, we’ve added an ac­tive event to the fes­tiv­i­ties to en­cour­age healthy life­styles,’’ said Stan­ley Chais­son, prin­ci­ple or­ga­nizer of the run.

“Be­ing a P.E.I. Road­run­ners­sanc­tioned event will help us com­mu­ni­cate the event to more run­ners and mu­sic fans.’’

Chais­son said they’ll have run­ning for the body, yoga for the mind and mu­sic and com­mu­nity for the spirit.

“In my opin­ion, both the run and the fes­ti­val are very much about com­mu­nity, friend­ship and en­joy­ment of life, and that’s why we feel it’s a good fit.’’

This is the sec­ond new com­po­nent to be added to the fid­dle fes­ti­val, cel­e­brat­ing 41 years this year, which al­ready in­cor­po­rates the mu­sic camp, in­tro­duced in 2016.

The run is also a fundraiser for the mu­sic camp schol­ar­ship fund “so hope­fully this ap­peals to younger per­form­ers and any­one in­ter­ested in pre­serv­ing the tra­di­tion may par­tic­i­pate for that rea­son,’’ Chais­son said.

Or­ga­niz­ers are hop­ing the run might at­tract new peo­ple to the fes­ti­val and make plans to spend the night or the week­end.

The fid­dle fes­ti­val con­certs kicks off Fri­day at 7 p.m.

Run­ners can ex­pect an outand-back course start­ing at the fid­dle grounds with a wa­ter view of the Rollo Bay flats, a cou­ple of chal­leng­ing hills and some friendly fid­dlers and en­er­getic mu­sic to cheer them on.

Reg­is­tra­tion is $10 and starts at 4:15 p.m. at the Rollo Bay Fid­dle Fes­ti­val Grounds, 961 Vet­eran’s Memo­rial High­way, Souris, with the run it­self start­ing at 5 p.m.

A fes­ti­val that cel­e­brates the most un­usual and di­verse neigh­bour­hood in Char­lot­te­town takes place July 15.

Fes­ti­val for the Bog will be held dur­ing the af­ter­noon in the city’s old west end where “the bog’’, a com­mu­nity founded by for­mer slaves brought to the Is­land in the 1780s and later cast off by their own­ers, ex­isted for nearly a cen­tury be­gin­ning in 1810.

A num­ber of peo­ple set­tled along the eastern side of Gov­ern­ment Pond on va­cant land in a boggy area.

With rel­a­tively few black im­mi­grants to the Is­land in the 19th cen­tury, lo­cal blacks and whites in­ter­mar­ried and the bog be­came a mixed-race area with a dis­tinctly African her­itage.s

Spon­sored by Canada 150 and the Black Cul­tural So­ci­ety of P.E.I., and with sup­port from the city, Fes­ti­val of the Bog be­gins at 1 p.m. on Satur­day with a walk­ing tour of the area led by Jim Hornby.

The tour will re­count the his­tory of the peo­ple and com­mu­nity dur­ing the 19th cen­tury. It will then pro­ceed down Rochford Street, which will be tem­po­rar­ily closed to traf­fic, from near Eus­ton Street and “Black Sam’s Bridge’’ to “Jail (Pow­nal) Square’’, where a staged event will present com­men­taries, art and mu­sic to ac­knowl­edge this un­ac­knowl­edged com­mu­nity.

Mu­sic will be pre­sented by the Scott Par­sons Band, Jim Hornby and the West En­ders, and Ta­mara, Claire and Friends.

A spe­cial fea­ture of the stage por­tion of the event is that the cit­i­zens of Char­lot­te­town, with a spe­cial wel­come to the many de­scen­dants of the bog, are in­vited to of­fer any com­ments they may wish to con­trib­ute dur­ing the remembrance.

Any­one in­ter­ested is wel­come to con­tact Hornby, fes­ti­val di­rec­tor, at Hornby@pei.sym­pa­tico.ca or Par­sons, pres­i­dent of the Black Cul­tural So­ci­ety, at jupiter­wisepei@gmail.com.

“In my opin­ion, both the run and the fes­ti­val are very much about com­mu­nity, friend­ship and en­joy­ment of life, and that’s why we feel it’s a good fit.’’ Stan­ley Chais­son

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